By Sunny Liu
The City of Melbourne has slammed West Gate Tunnel’s environmental effects statement (EES), calling it a “fundamentally flawed” project with no community benefit.
Peter O’Farrell for City of Melbourne told West Gate Tunnel’s Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC) on the first day of the six-week public hearing that the EES was “inadequate”.
“The city’s case is that the EES of the project is manifestly inadequate and it has not been demonstrated that the adverse environmental impacts of the project in its current form are outweighed by its benefits,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“Overall this project will do more harm to this state than it will do good.”
Mr O’Farrell said the EES failed to address the impact of increased traffic and congestion in the north and west of the CBD, especially in the urban renewal areas of E-Gate, Dynon and Arden Macaulay.
“(Western Distributor Authority) has adopted a fundamentally flawed approach to the preparation of the EES, apparently based on a misconception of what an EES is required to deliver. The consequence is the EES has not even tried to do everything it is required to do,” he said.
Mr O’Farrell also questioned the credibility of the 10,000-page EES, released on May 29 by the Western Distributor Authority and exploring the project’s impacts on traffic, physical environment, human health, community and heritage.
“Our submission will be that this EES is not balanced, or comprehensive or transparent as an assessment of the impacts of the project, nor does it adequately examine the alternatives.”
“(The EES) is not determined by what the proponent (Western Distributor Authority) thinks it should contain and far less by what the proponent wants to provide.”
“The city also intends to explore whether sufficient information has been provided to and the community to allow proper assessment of the project,” Mr O’Farrell said.
West Gate Tunnel’s IAC received more than 500 submissions from the community, many of which have or will be heard over six-weeks of public hearings at Footscray Community Arts Centre until September 22.
In the council’s submission, it argues the project is “outdated”, “inadequate” and “inconsistent with contemporary integrated city and transport planning” as it will bring more vehicles into the CBD.
The City of Melbourne is further presenting over four days at Footscray Community Arts Centre on August 25, 28, 29 and 30.